Correctional Officer Salary
Job Description for Correctional Officer
A correctional officer works at a prison, jail, or similar institution. They are responsible for maintaining the safety and control of all persons remanded to the custody of the facility. The help ensure and enforce all procedures and regulations as required by the jurisdiction and management.Read More...
In addition to helping to maintain order, the correctional officer also assists in performing regularly scheduled inspections of the property belonging to incarcerated persons to seek out contraband and other dangerous or banned items so they may be removed immediately. The officer must be available to help any inmate in need of first aid or similar assistance, as well as to help maintain the upkeep and sanitation of the facility; they are expected to report maintenance and repair needs to the individuals or department responsible for these areas. Much of the correctional officer’s job involves writing up logs and any necessary incident reports in detail. The officer is expected to structure these reports so that senior officers or wardens can make determinations on discipline or housing as required to help maintain control and order of the facility.
Correctional officers normally have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, plus some vocational training in this specialized field or in law enforcement. Additionally, the institution or legal jurisdiction may require ongoing training related to new challenges and responses related to safe maintenance of prisoner custody.
Correctional officers work in a prison environment, which may be stressful for some workers. Because of the need for 24-hour supervision, these officers are usually scheduled for shift work and should expect that weekends and holidays will be part of the work rotation.
Correctional Officer Tasks
- Responsible for transporting or moving prisoners.
- Receive and secure prisoners until their release.
- Maintain security of the jail or institution.
- Supervise prisoners and maintain security, rules, regulations and cleanliness in correctional facility.
Common Career Paths for Correctional Officer
Though not the most common occurrence, Correctional Officers sometimes become Registered Nurses, where the average income is $56K per year. The most common career progression for Correctional Officers leads to becoming a Corrections Officer, where average pay is $36K annually. However, many Correctional Officers also opt to become Security Officers. Typically, a Security Officer brings home $25K.
Correctional Officer / Jailer Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Correctional Officer
Many Correctional Officers can be found at Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), Texas Department of Criminal Justice, The GEO Group, Inc., Dept. of Corrections, and Florida Department of Corrections, firms that are at the top of the field. NYSDocs attracts talent by shelling out the biggest paychecks in the area — the median in that office is $59K. Correctional Officers can also look forward to large paychecks at Oregon Department of Corrections ($47K), Federal Bureau of Prisons ($46K), and Indiana Department of Corrections ($38K).
Tennessee Department of Corrections, Idaho Department of Corrections, and Florida Department of Corrections also rank near the bottom for pay, handing out $27K, $32K, and $33K-paychecks on average.
Popular Skills for Correctional Officer
Survey results suggest that Correctional Officers use a fairly large toolkit of professional skills. Most notably, facility with Safety Compliance and Transport are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 43 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Writing Procedures & Documentation, Security Risk Management, and Military. Competency in Oral / Verbal Communication frequently indicates knowledge of Security Policies and Procedures.
Pay by Experience Level for Correctional Officer
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Correctional Officers — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. Workers with less than five years' experience earn around $32K on average, and those who have five to 10 years under their belts see a higher median salary of $36K. Correctional Officers claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $40K. After two decades in the workforce, the average Correctional Officer generally earns more than ever; median pay for this group is estimated at $48K.
Pay Difference by Location
For those looking to make money, Correctional Officers in Los Angeles enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 79 percent above the national average. Correctional Officers will also find cushy salaries in New York (+29 percent), Baltimore (+19 percent), Salem (+15 percent), and Phoenix (+12 percent). Indianapolis is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 14 percent. Workers in Lawton and Raleigh earn less than others in this profession; their salaries fall short of the national average by 10 percent.